The Ford Transit Connect is a relative newcomer here in the U.S. It made its debut in the 2010 model year after having been on sale in Europe for more than a decade as a commercial vehicle built in Turkey.
It's now being replaced around the world with a new model, and the American-market version arrives in the fourth quarter of 2013 as the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon.
Again this time, the Transit Connect Wagon is built on a front-wheel-drive platform, the same one as in the Ford Focus. That means it's more fuel-efficient than some other minivans on the market--all of them, actually, even the Mazda 5. Ford promises 30-mpg highway ratings for some versions of the Transit Connect, thanks to its choice of either a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine or a 1.6-liter turbocharged four. Both are teamed to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Interior flexibility will be improved over the current model, with fold-flat second- and third-row seats, and a sliding third-row seat for adjustable cargo and passenger room. The Transit Connect Wagon offers sliding side doors, and a choice of a tailgate in back, or hinged cargo doors.
Ford promises best-in-class load carrying ability as well, with the payload of a full-size pickup of at least 1,200 pounds and more than 100 cubic feet of cargo space. The Wagon will be able to tow up to 2,000 pounds.
Body configurations include short-wheelbase (SWB) and long-wheelbase (LWB) versions, and the Transit Connect Wagon will be offered in XL, XLT, and Titanium trim levels. Safety equipment will include three-row airbags on seven-passenger models, and two-row curtain airbags on five-passenger models.
Among the major options will be a panoramic roof; a choice of leather, cloth, or vinyl upholstery; a rearview camera; a touchscreen navigation system; and SYNC with MyFord Touch voice controls.
Stay tuned for more as Ford rolls out the Transit Connect Wagon and the larger Transit van over the next year.
This story originally appeared at The Car Connection